2019 Ivy League College Baseball Preview
1.Yale (22-20, 15-6)
2. Columbia (19-29, 13-8)
3. Dartmouth (17-22-1, 12-8-1)
4. Pennsylvania (16-25-1, 9-11-1)
5. Harvard (22-20, 12-9)
6. Princeton (10-27, 7-14)
7. Cornell (14-22-1, 9-12)
8. Brown (11-26, 6-15)
Team to Beat: Yale
Yale won the Ivy League regular season championship in each of the past two seasons, but the Bulldogs were swept by Columbia in last year’s best-of-three conference championship series. This year, coach John Stuper returns a veteran-laden squad, led by two-way seniors Griffin Dey (.306/.381/.476, 7 HR; 0-3, 4.61) and Benny Wanger (.196/.328/.325, 3 HR; 2-0, 0.90, 6 SV), a first-team all-Ivy League selection in 2018. Both Dey and Wanger will be weapons out of the bullpen, and they form a solid offensive duo at first and third base, respectively. Yale lost last year’s ace Eric Brodkowitz, but return two other weekend starters in righthander Scott Politz (5-4, 3.07) and lefthander Kumar Nambiar (5-2, 5.18), both of whom are seniors. Helping Politz and Nambiar will be excellent defensive play behind them, as the Bulldogs led the country in team fielding percentage (.985) last season and return the slick-fielding middle infield duo of Simon Whiteman (.298/.354/.320, 9 SB) and Dai Dai Otaka (.181/.236/.205).
Player of the Year: Eduardo Malinowski, 2B/OF, Penn
The only underclassman selected to last year’s all-Ivy League first team, Malinowski was the conference’s freshman of the year in 2018. The 6-foot, 190-pound righthanded hitter led the Ivy League in batting average (.347), providing the Quakers with a legitimate top-of-the order threat. Malinowski also brings added defensive versatility and can play all over the diamond, having started games in both left field and at second base last season.
Pitcher of the Year: Scott Politz, RHP, Yale
A 6-foot-2, 205-pound righthander, Politz gives Yale a true, front-of-the-rotation starter in its pursuit for a second NCAA Tournament appearance in the last three years. Politz has been a first team all-Ivy League selection in each of his first three years on campus, and he has a career 22-9, 3.30 record with a 3.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 256.2 innings. Politz, who won a career-high 11 games in 2017, needs seven more wins to become Yale’s all-time career wins leader.
Freshman of the Year: Nadir Lewis, OF, Princeton
Lewis is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound freshman from Alpharetta, Ga., who should make an immediate impact for Princeton. The lefthanded hitter is an above-average runner who has good range and a strong, accurate arm in center field. There’s still plenty of room left for projection in Lewis’ frame and power potential, but for now he should be an important catalyst atop the Tigers’ lineup.
Top 25 Teams: None.
Last year’s Ivy League representative in the NCAA Tournament, Columbia has qualified for the postseason in four of the past six seasons. The Lions must replace first-team all-Ivy League selection Randell Kanemaru in the infield, but they return eight other lineup regulars from 2018, including junior catcher Liam McGill (.320/.397/.500, 6 HR) and seniors Joe Engel (.306/.388/.368), Ben Porter (.346/.430/.442) and Chandler Bengtson (.257/.371/.471, 10 HR). Bengtson gives Columbia a power threat in the middle of the lineup, while Porter looks to stay healthy after playing in just 28 games last year due to injury. On the mound, the Lions welcome back senior ace lefthander Josh Simpson and senior righthander Ethan Abrams, both of whom missed all of last season due to injury. In their place, junior righthander Jordan Chriss (2-7, 6.45) and junior lefthander Ben Wereski (3-4, 6.49) gained some much-needed experience and should help fill out the rotation. Columbia lefthanded closer Lucas Hall (3-0, 1.59, 4 SV) is also back for his senior season and should help shorten games for the Lions.
If any team was going to disrupt Yale and Columbia from meeting in the Ivy League championship series for the second consecutive year, it seems Dartmouth would be the obvious pick. Coach Bob Whalen’s club returns senior captain Cole O’Connor (5-4, 4.50) to lead the starting rotation, while fellow righthander Austen Michel (3-2, 3.38, 7 SV) will anchor the bullpen. Dartmouth lost its other two weekend starters in seniors Jack Fossand and Clay Chatham, and O’Connor, Fossand and Chatham started 33 of a possible 40 games last season. Offensively, Dartmouth returns its top two hitters from a season ago in senior Sean Sullivan (.340/.456/.388) and junior Blake Crossing (.319/.435/.354). Neither Sullivan nor Crossing provide much in the way of power—that will fall at the hands of junior Michael Calamari (.246/.275/.401, 5 HR) and senior Nate Ostmo (.262/.337/.407, 4 HR)—but both are above-average hitters who should help carry the Big Green offense.
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1.Hunter Bigge, RHP, Harvard
2. Josh Simpson, LHP, Columbia
3. Ryan Smith, LHP, Princeton
4. Griffin Dey, 1B, Yale
5. Scott Politz, RHP, Yale
6. Tim DeGraw, OF, Yale
7. Kevin Stone, RHP, Harvard
8. Matt O’Neill, C, Penn
9. Will Simoneit, C, Cornell
10. Pat McColl, 1B, Harvard